‘She was loved by all’ – Family pay tribute to South Tyneside great-grandmother who passed away days before her 100th birthday
The family of a great-grandmother who sadly died just four days before her 100th birthday has said she was “prim and proper” right until the end.
Isabella Coneley, from Biddick Hall, sadly passed away on Tuesday, March 14, just days before she was due to celebrate turning 100-years-old on Saturday, March 18.
The 99-year-old was mum of Eileen, 78, Shirley, 73, and Valerie, 66, as well as a grandmother of six and a great-grandmother of 11.
During World War II, Isabella worked in a factory building parts for Lancaster Bombers before she married her husband, Harry, on December 22, 1943.
The couple lived in Kidderminster with their three daughters until Harry died in 1960, leading to Isabella moving back home to South Tyneside.
Valerie has reflected on how difficult it was for her mum at that time and how hard she worked hard to continue to provide for her family.
She said: “When my dad died, she had lost everything so we moved in with my grandparents in Simonside before getting a house in Biddick Hall, where she lived for around 58 years.
“She had to work really hard to bring the three of us up on her own but she managed to do it while working as a home helper for 26 years, something she continued to do when she retired.
"We used to call her ‘Queen B’ as she was very prim and proper until the end; she always had to clean the house and make sure she had some lipstick on for when the doctor was coming to see her.
"Years ago, we were going to a wedding in Sunderland when the airshow was on and because of this, we had to get a police escort through the crowds – well she was just loving it as she waved at everyone as we went past them.”
“Everyone who knew her just loved her, even the window cleaner and the person who delivered her medication would say how great she was.”
As a way of celebrating Isabella’s 100th birthday, Valerie set herself the task of trying to get 100 birthday cards from 100 different people as a surprise for her mum.
In the end, Valerie was able to get double the amount of birthday cards that she had set out to collect, something which took her by shock.
She commented: “I love setting myself challenges so when her 100th birthday was approaching, I thought it would be nice to try and get her 100 birthday cards.
"The rest of the family joined in and it snowballed from there; I just couldn’t believe it as I thought we’d struggle to get 100.
"One lady in Sunderland got a dance class to send at least 40 cards for her birthday, it was an excellent effort from everyone.”
Being the family-orientated person that she was, Isabella ensured that her family were taken care of right up until the end of her life.
Valerie added: “Mum would always worry about everyone in the family and it was always her ambition to leave us something when she died.
"She was proud that she kept a lovely home and last month, she finally paid off her mortgage on her house so it could be left to us.”